Several solvent-producing clostridia, including Clostridium acetobutylicum and C. beijerinckii, were previously shown to be nitrogen-fixing organisms based on the incorporation of (15)N(2) into cellular material. The key nitrogen-fixation (nif) genes, including nifH, nifD, and nifK for nitrogenase component proteins as well as nifE, nifN, nifB and nifV for synthesis of the iron-molybdenum cofactor (FeMoco) of nitrogenase, have now been identified in C. acetobutylicum or C. beijerinckii or both. The organization of these genes is similar to the distinctive pattern that was first observed in Clostridium pasteurianum, with the nifN and nifB genes fused into the nifN-B gene and with the nifV gene split into the nifVomega and nifValpha genes, The corresponding nif genes of these three clostridial species are highly related to each other, However, in the two solvent-producing clostridia, the nifH and nifD genes are interspersed by two glnB-like genes, which are absent in the corresponding region in C. pasteurianum. However, the nifN-B and nifVomega genes of C. pasteurianum are interspersed by the putative modA and modB genes (for molybdate transport), which are absent in the corresponding region in C. acetobutylicum. C. acetobutylicum and C. beijerinckii grew well under nitrogen-fixing conditions, and the acetylene-reducing activity of nitrogenase was measured in the two species. Acetone, butanol, and isopropanol production occurred in nitrogen-fixing cultures, but the peak of nitrogen-fixing activity preceded the active solventogenic phase.